Literary Chess

I like the meditative nature of writing. It’s me and the page. I allow waves of thoughts to wash up on the shore of my mind and am like a beach comber, sifting through, seeing what I can piece together, seeing what there are piles of and is important to my mind, seeing what the sea takes back in.

I like talking about writing, and talk about it off and on with an old MFA bud of mine, Adam. We talk craft and trends and sometimes, how it’s good to wander and take your time with a piece. I was reminded, in our last conversation, about how people used to play long distance chess. You’d wait for that phone call or letter saying where to move a chess piece and then would spend time thinking about your counter move, trying to figure out what they were getting at.

We live in a day of instant gratification. I can play chess online and have a game finished one sitting (who am I kidding, a few minutes, it’s been a long time since I’ve been good at chess). So the question was how to have this tradition of waiting on another to make a move, before you make one? To have stillness and yet anticipation?

So we landed on literary chess. I made a post on Facebook asking for themes. I got a number good ones, too. I then put them all on slips of paper and had my roommate pick one. He turned his head away and pulled out. . .BACON.

So what is literary chess?   It’s a twitter game between two people.   One person starts with a theme and using the limits of twitter writes out a line of a poem, story, etc. Then it’s the other person’s turn to continue.   This goes on until each person has written 12 lines. The story/poem must be complete by the end.

Adam’s a poet, so we decided to do a poem based on the theme. Will my enjambments manage to jam him up? Will his wordsmithery trounce my fictioned heart into submission?   Will we find cohesion? Because this is literary chess folks, were battling each other and the form but for cohesion and a shot at art.

We can be followed at #literarychess on twitter, and our own twitters. I also totally encourage others to challenge each other. Or, if you’d like to challenge Adam or I, please feel free to make it known!

The game is afoot.


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